Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 6 Jan 08 14:14
I have a bright view of that period as well, although I'm half a blip younger than Jon. I found the darker reality in that period as well, even as an adolescent, but I knew what to do with it right away -- avoid it if you could, fight it if you couldn't! I've written about some of those themes on my WELL website page devoted to the subject of "frootbats." I am the dog in the corner who growls for no apparent reason when the bad guy walks into the saloon. Even my very concrete wife has learned to trust my intuition.
FROM KYLE JOHNSON (davadam) Sun 6 Jan 08 15:25
Kyle Johnson comments: This conversation needs a heretic: I'd like to chime in defense of conspiracy theorists by asserting that, in the big picture scheme of things, they have an annoying tendency of being more right than they are wrong. Take, for instance, the 9-11-was-an-inside-jobbers: Were the Towers packed with plastique on the secret orders of Paul Wolfowitz to kickstart the Frankenstein Monster for a New American Century? Eh, no. But the 9-11 hijackers *were* the dividend of a paramilitary network financed and trained by America in the 1980s, because we appreciated their penchant for giving the Soviets their own taste of Vietnam; Provide free schooling and financing to stone-cold killers and it's going to come back and bite you in the ass every time. (Cf. the old story about "The Scorpion and the Frog", I always thought it was an old Buddhist parable but it turns out it was written by Orson Welles! Thanks, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpion_and_the_frog) My point is, since we created and paid for the people that did it, I'd say the sentence "9-11 was inside job" is, on balance, more true than it isn't. Similarly, I find classic conspiracy theory statements such as "We invaded Iraq to steal their oil", "Karl Rove runs Diebold" and "Dick Cheney is an Evil Robot" are ultimately more useful as being understood as (at least 51%) truthful. Even though, when you actually try to connect the breadcrumbs the conspiracy theorist whackjob is screaming at you across the crowded bar, it's obviously all a load of bollocks. What I'm proposing for 2008 is an evolution beyond the limitations of General Conspiracy Theory to arrive at something of a Quantum Theory of Conspiracies. Where it's perfectly OK that we can't find the location of the second gunman because it's impossible to simultaneously know the location of an assassin and the vector of his bullet. This is exciting stuff: A corrollary Quantum Theory of Jesus could yield an equation resolving Original Sin with the Carbon Footprint while sidestepping the zero denominator the literal interpretation of the Pentateuch. Of course, there are always costs. One predictable side effect would is an attendent renaissance in crappy sympathy card poetry, with punchlines such as, ">>Dear God, when I looked back on the most difficult parts of my life, there was no footprint at all! >>That, my child, is because I was busy composting your hidebound, nihilistic orthodoxy. An 8000-year old planet? Jesus Christ!"
FROM PATRICK FREEMAN (davadam) Sun 6 Jan 08 15:26
Patrick Freeman comments: I have to agree with Scott MacFarlane. I'm 63 years old, born in 1944 and graduated from college in 1966. So I'm probably a bit older than the average reader here, and was probably a bit younger than the average Vietnam vet, at least military officers who served in Vietnam, since that is what I was. An Air Force officer for nearly 25 years. Despite what many here would probably consider a grievous handicap of a career, I was influenced by much of what happened in the '60s and '70s in America and the world. I found the Whole Earth Catalog endlessly fascinating, and was an early convert to the environmental concepts and concerns introduced by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring. I read all the classic back to the earth texts and dreamed of building my own furniture and my own home on a few acres of woodland. But, for the most part, like most everyone else, I didn't. I had a wife and kids, a career which gave me sustenance, graduate education, and a feeling of contributing to something larger than merely grubbing a few bucks. The environmental and philosophical movements of the '60s and '70s gave birth to the society we live in today. We found some truth in the back to the land movement and in our first meager attempts to enlighten and improve American society. My wife and I still refer to Diet for a Small Planet and recycle everything we can. We voted for McGovern in '72 and even Dukakis in '88, and are in utter despair at the devastation wrought by Bush and Cheney, and their corporate henchmen over the first long years of the 21st century. But we still find hope in America and Americans. We live in a nice house in a nice community and drive a nice, newer minivan, but do not aspire to SUVs and McMansions. Peak oil? I commuted 100 miles per day to a solar observatory in the desert east of San Diego during the first "oil shock" of the 1970's (in a car pool, of course). We saw some few people who would line up every day to buy gasoline to feed their motor homes for the weekend, but we saw more people who were cooperative and understanding, and patient. We think these latter types will ultimately prevail. We understand our place in the world and our responsibilities as citizens of the planet and the nation. We live with hope and optimism, and are not about to give up and lapse into cynicism and despair. We think we will find a way through the looming challenges of the future, and believe our grandchildren will live better lives than we do now. That, after all, is why we are here.
NEAL SOLDOFSKY (davadam) Sun 6 Jan 08 15:27
Neal Soldofsky comments: Hey all, thanks for the wonderful discussion. #60 < If I have one persistent gloom-and-doom fear it's consolidated media ownership. That you can enumerate, and see the effects of. Me, I'm not that terrified of consolidated media ownership in the long term, because I think in the long term the internet will be the most important media platform for most people. Then, of course, control goes into the hands of the ISP's, who are themselves a pretty consolidated and unsavory lot, but the internet is too hard to control for me to worry about those people. And I think people will freak the hell out if anyone messes with there internets. You'd have to be real subtle to manage it, and I don't think it would be possible to do it in a subtle way. I only see traditional medial companies being able to maintain control over big budget things. The real question is whether or not they will lose their grip on the news, and I think they will, eventually. But it might be ten years before things really change in terms of who controls the news, and with our terrible quality of news, and the direness of the times, that does seem like a long while. What's your take on this Bruce? How do you think the internet will affect news and the way people consume it? Do you think people will be more or less informed?
MICHAEL HEAP (davadam) Sun 6 Jan 08 15:27
Michael Heap comments: Bruce, my thoughts return to last year with your discussion, im still thinking of the points raised, very inspirational. Through a number of discussions ive come to the conclusion that yes its going to take far more than green teacups bailing us out of our current problems to 'save the world', its going to have to take a Manhattan style project, with the best and the brightest being given a huge amount of resources to try to solve the problems at hand. Trying every crazy ass scheme they can come up with. From sinking huge concrete spheres in the ocean to suck co2 out of the ocean and subsequently out of the atmosphere, punching a hole in the atmosphere to vent co2 into space, to promoting algal blooms in surface water via Co2 & Iron dust, man made volcanoes spewing sulpher into the atmosphere, air capture and processing via artificial trees. all utopian thinking but without funding and serious asynchronous thinking we will never know. I also have a feeling that the small individual efforts are virtually a waste of time (an false panacea or placebo if you will) if not detrimental to the CO2 reduction because it allows people to think we can continue business as usual. And here is my thinking. Recycling most recycling actually uses more energy/resources than it saves think about the massive recycling ghettos in China and India that recycle our detritus, in this case im thinking of electronics recycling where the primary goal is to recover valuable metals for on sale don't let the 'recycling' sales pitch fool you what the business is about is recovering scrap metals, not disposing of materials in a safe and green way Hybrid/Electric vehicles the energy required to manufacture the vehicles (im specifically thinking about the batteries & shipping here) - the nickel ore alone is mined in Ontario, (Acid rain damage) shipped to Europe for smelting (CO2 emissions), then shipped to china to produce nickel foam (CO2 & other environmental impact), then subsequently shipped to Japan to make batteries & then assembled into cars(CO2 & other environmental impact). Then shipped to where ever the car is intended to be driven (CO2) don't let the CO2 friendly advertising fool you a prius causes more environmental damage than a SUV and is more expensive per mile too. Carbon offset for that cross country flight you've just taken for Christmas - you were carbon neutral right? You coughed up the cash and paid to off set the carbon right? Well check the company you gave your cash to. First of all traditional carbon offsetting is massively inefficient way of getting rid of CO2, Planting trees hmm great idea well it depends on what you do with them afterward, doesn't it, in an ideal world you plant quick growing trees cut them down and bury them. Not let IKEA buy the pine in 10 years time turn the trees into wood pulp then build you a new bookcase which ends up as burnable landfill in 3 years time. Its also very hard to quantify the levels of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by planting trees. Secondly how can you tell the company you're giving money to is actually planting trees? Most companies providing carbon offsetting schemes are less than transparent and the projects are entirely unregulated and is planting trees really the best and quickest way to offset co2?
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Sun 6 Jan 08 15:46
When I moved to the bay area I found all the remnants of the sixties here to be tremendously appealing, especially compared to my hometown where there was little obvious evidence that the sixties had actually happened there. But there's a difference between learning from history and being obsessed by it. It would be a shame if our relationship with the sixties turned into something like the old South's obsession with the Civil War. Luckily there's not all that much danger of it. There's a lot of the past mixed in with the present, but the parts that are most obviously of the sixties are the anachronisms. Maybe the best way to honor the past is to recycle it.
Tom Jennings (t-o-m-i-c) Sun 6 Jan 08 16:42
*We really do need to learn to generate lots of prototypes, throw 'em at the wall, search them, sort them, rank them, critique them, and blow the best ones into global-scale proportions at high speed. That's what our contemporary civilization is really good at, and it is simply beyond the imagination of the 1960s. The point I see behind 'lots of prototypes' and '100 ideas... kill off 97 of them' isn't the successful products but the failures themselves. You learn from failures; little is learned from successes (though we often benefit from them). I teach electronics and fabrication to art grad kids, and getting them to 'post mortem' their failures without shame or beratement is a worthwhile chore. First-time success leads to subsequent failure. Bruce's point about industrial carbon credits and such is spot on; it's not a "60's" environmental type ideal; it's a hard and cold technique of the present, that time will tell us if it worked or not. Best case is that 20, 50 years it's laughbly silly because we're doing something better.
Tom Jennings (t-o-m-i-c) Sun 6 Jan 08 16:55
davadam: > Me, I'm not that terrified of > consolidated media ownership in the > long term, because I think in the > long term the internet will be the > most important media platform for > most people. I'm sorry, but I can never understand why people insist "the internet is different". It's not. It's not decentralized (some of its protocols are); when it was demilitarized, it wasn't handed to some public entity to run (not that I think that would work) but to commercial businesses. It was an unattended playground, but that phase is ending (has ended). It's unique and decentralized-looking at this moment. You're fooling yourself if you think this somehow inherent in "the internet". davadam: > Then, of course, control goes into the > hands of the ISP's, who are themselves > a pretty consolidated and unsavory > lot, but the internet is too hard to > control for me to worry about those > people. Pre-comma, well duh, there you go. Post comma, huh? Unlike even the telephone network, where the contained traffic is an analog representation of human utterance, and hard to machine-parse, everything within the internet has tightly-defined symbolic meaning, and trivial to parse. It's a done deal. Sorry for the 2nd post.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Sun 6 Jan 08 18:50
Easy to say by someone who hasn't actually tried to parse the Internet. If the ISP's make a serious try of it, encryption will be used a lot more than it is now.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 6 Jan 08 20:48
Rather than parse the Internet, Tom created his own. (http://www.region17.net/jennings.html) >> I think in the >> long term the internet will be the >> most important media platform for >> most people. > > I'm sorry, but I can never understand why people insist "the > internet is different". It's not. I think the Internet does present a different environment for media, in that anyone can have access to the means of production and distribution, and in this context, when we see "the media" cover a story, it's not a handful of broadcast channels we're talking about, but a combination of increasingly more interactive and user-driven professional media channels and media sources that are more or less amateur operations. I think davadam is saying, "so what if the Daily Planet owns every broadcast channel in Metropolis - I'm getting my news from blogs like Weblogsky and Beyond the Beyond." You've got a bazillion ways to aggregate news and build your world-view, without reference to newspapers, television, or radio. And where can Rupert Murdoch go to buy a controlling interest in the Internet?
Tom Jennings (t-o-m-i-c) Sun 6 Jan 08 22:47
jonl: I think davadam is saying, "so what if the Daily Planet owns every broadcast channel in Metropolis - I'm getting my news from blogs like Weblogsky and Beyond the Beyond." You've got a bazillion ways to aggregate news and build your world-view, without reference to newspapers, television, or radio. And where can Rupert Murdoch go to buy a controlling interest in the Internet? But you could have viewed radio that way in 1940, and look what happened there -- with few exceptions, it's a total wasteland today (U.S. anyhoo). Relentless vertical integration. The seeds of that conglomeration were there the whole time, visible in station ownership patterns, 80 years of legal assaults by GE et al, tech manufacturers, music industry influences -- but it wasn't *seen* that way until it was too late. I am in no way insisting that this will happen to the internet -- but I am asserting that the converse -- this mythology of the self-healing decentralized anarchic internet -- is not only wrong, but harmful. But look at music -- in 1900 music meant performance almost exclusively; by the 1980's there was a near total vertical integration -- artist contracts, production, distribution -- but just as it got apocalyptic the collapse began that we're experiencing now (cheap recording tech, CDRs, downloads, ...). Today the meaning of "music" has been utterly culturally transformed. Though I didn't experience music pre-recording, I like what 'music' means today. So nothing's certain and it's not all bad news. I think also that there is a fear that if we "lose" the internet, we really are lost. That may be in fact true. Where WOULD we be today if we did not have an internet?
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 7 Jan 08 04:32
*I'm a big fan of subcultures, countercultures and bohemias. They generate a lot of strange ideas and alternative practices. A lot of those ideas turn out to be crap, of course, but at least they're being pioneered by volunteers, they're not crap ideas opposed from on high by the Stalinist Central Committee. I'm from Austin, where we have the Austin light-bulb joke. "How many Austinites does it take to change a light-bulb? "Three, one to do it and two to reminisce about how great Austin was in the 60s." A slightly dated joke as Austinites are now likelier to be installing cold LED flat-panel displays in their creative-class atelier, but you get the point. It's soppy to be a 60s nostalgist, but really, there's a LOT more written about Nazis and what Nazis believed than about hippies and what hippies believed. A coinage like "Islamo-fascist" will get you all kinds of traction, whereas describing Al Qaeda as "Islamo-BaaderMeinhof" would get you a big fat "huh?" Even though the Red Army Fraktion got a lot of its tactics and weapons training from the Middle East terror groups, and even though they were 60s armed radicals very big on suicide. Remember "konsumterror"? People who are all down on consumerism oughta bone up a little on "konsumterror." It's like: you're a materialist, so I knock over an armored car and then kneecap you. Truly the missing legacy of the 70s. People who talk about the failings of Boomers always talk about hippie leftie druggie Boomers, but Bush is a Boomer, so is Gingrich, so is Rove. Most of the NeoCons are Boomers, except a few of their gray emininences. When it comes to seizing power and enforcing radical change on society, Neoconservativism has pretty much gotta be the Boomer philosophy par excellence. Except maybe for Al Qaeda, because Bin Laden's a Boomer, too.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 7 Jan 08 04:47
"But look at music -- in 1900 music meant performance almost exclusively; by the 1980's there was a near total vertical integration -- artist contracts, production, distribution -- but just as it got apocalyptic the collapse began that we're experiencing now (cheap recording tech, CDRs, downloads, ...). Today the meaning of "music" has been utterly culturally transformed. Though I didn't experience music pre-recording, I like what 'music' means today. So nothing's certain and it's not all bad news." *I never imagined I'd be the kinda guy who says "kids these days have music that sucks." In fact pretty much ALL AND EVERY aspect of popular culture has suffered under the Bush Administration, but music, especially so. *Best-selling albums of 2007... there's like, Daughtry, who's a Japanese-style TV-manufactured pop idoru... a Christmas Carols album... a Walt Disney soundtrack... Fergie, Justin Timberlake, the Police and the Beatles. I don't mind Fergie, those she's not a musician, and Justin Timberlake is a professional entertainer who works hard for his millions, but that's music from a despondent era. It's like the pre-rock-and-roll days of Pat Boone's white suede shoes and "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window". Why should the Police, biggest band of the early 80s, and the Beatles, biggest band of the 60s (with two dead guys in it), kick the ass of musicians in the 00s? Because their competition has been strangled, that's why. The Bush regime is a grim, dispirited period. Everybody knows there's something wrong with it. "I think also that there is a fear that if we "lose" the internet, we really are lost. That may be in fact true. Where WOULD we be today if we did not have an internet?" There's a science fiction anthology written on this theme. http://www.louanders.com/livewithoutanetpage.htm I didn't write anything for that book. Unfortunately.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 7 Jan 08 06:59
"...Bush is a Boomer, so is Gingrich, so is Rove. Most of the NeoCons are Boomers, except a few of their gray emininences. When it comes to seizing power and enforcing radical change on society, Neoconservativism has pretty much gotta be the Boomer philosophy par excellence." My point, exactly. The sixties grew more Bush/Roves than hippies. They were doing est or starting to build businesses or work for politicians, instead of living on communes. Some (e.g. Bill Gates) were beginning, or preparing, to build corporate empires. "It'slike the pre-rock-and-roll days of Pat Boone's white suede shoes and 'How Much Is That Doggie in the Window'." The centralized, corporate music industry is crumbling, undone in part by competition from independents at a micro level, the sort of bands that are getting exposure and circulation via systems like emusic, which charges a flat rate for a set monthly number of perfectly legal music downloads. (Music also circulates freely through file sharing communities, but the RIAA seems to be working aggressively to put that genie back in the bottle... which won't fix their core problem, which is that the traditional music industry is disintermediated and undone by digital convergence.) Sale of recorded music is no longer a great way to make money - the bands that are doing well make money by touring, and they have hundreds of online channels to promote their music and their performances. David Byrne describes the new world of digital music very well in an article in the current issue of Wired: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Mon 7 Jan 08 07:08
<It's soppy to be a 60s nostalgist> But it's no more "soppy" to take an historical, disaffected look at the hippie ethos than it is to wrap oneself in geekspeak, sci-fi coinages and pretend that this is what is going to really happen in the future. Utopianism can distort both views. You talked about moving forward with fact, not faith. For purposes of a pragmatic futurism, I agree, yet faith-based initiatives, whether Jihadist, apocalyptic Christian, etc. are wildcards which do impact our future, too. <describing Al Qaeda as "Islamo-BaaderMeinhof" would get you a big fat "huh?" Remember "konsumterror"? Truly the missing legacy of the 70s.> That's a great description for Al Qaeda! Earlier you described the "boomers" of the Chinese cultural revolution. Careful not to impose today's globalism on the "globe" of 1968. Yes, in strict demographic, population dynamics you can talk about the hippies, Chinese cultural revolutionist, BaaderMeinof, all in the same "boomer" breath, but in doing so you conflate your socio-historical perspective. At a recent academic conference, someone mentioned that there were two 1968's, the 1968 of San Francisco and the 1968 of Paris. The Haight-back-to-the-land hippie epitomized the former, while the neo-Marxist radical student revolutionaries epitomized the latter. The German BaaderMeinof was an extreme example of Paris '68, not SF. Likewise, the New Leftist politicos in the US (Hoffman/Bernadine Dohrn) bore more resemblance to the radicalized Paris of '68, than to the Dionysian elements of the Haight (which they tried to co-opt). At that conference, after this comment was made about SF/Paris, someone asked, "what about the 1968 of Prague?" Tianaman (sp) Square (although later), as a reaction to a similar Marxist totalitarianism, and more akin to the Prague Spring, than to the youthful disaffections of Paris or SF. Likewise, if we're not going to conflate our history, shouldn't we also point to Saigon 1968 as epitomizing the hugely significant anti-colonial, Nationalist movement of the third world? Ho Chi Minh was a Nationalist more than a communist. The Tet Offensive of the Vietnamese is best understood from this historical impetus. SF/Paris/Prague/Saigon 1968 were like different winds blowing at the same time. An historical perspective which doesn't conflate them all into a singular boomer phenomena will help us better grasp a Global future. Whatever our Global future, it will have been greatly influenced by a convergence of all those different storms. <People who talk about the failings of Boomers always talk about hippie leftie druggie Boomers, but Bush is a Boomer, so is Gingrich, so is Rove. Most of the NeoCons are Boomers, except a few of their gray emininences.> Yes, but demographic conflation, again. The wind of the once-called "Silent Majority" began blowing hard in the US with Reagan in 1980. However, I've always thought that the term "Conservative Revolution" coined by the Gingrich gang in 1994, was a great example of Orwellian double speak. The hippies had a consciousness revolution, the New Leftists attempted neo-Marxist revolution, there was a revolution starting with Prague '68 and culminating in '89 with the fall of the Berlin Wall that overthrew the totalitarianism of Lenin's earlier revolution. By comparison, the Silent Majority of the US was reactionary, never revolutionary. The no-longer-silent-politicos in the US were embracing the military-industrial status quo and harkening back to an earlier Eisenhower Zeitgeist. <When it comes to seizing power and enforcing radical change on society, Neoconservativism has pretty much gotta be the Boomer philosophy par excellence. Except maybe for Al Qaeda, because Bin Laden's a Boomer, too.> Neoconservatism is indeed radical, but, again, you're trying to fit too much into your "Boomer" paradigm. [I wish Neoconservativism were merely "soppy".]
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Mon 7 Jan 08 07:14
>>The wind of the once-called "Silent Majority" began blowing hard in the US with Reagan in 1980.<<< I'm not so sure, Scott. I don't have the voting data at hand, but my sense has long been that Boomers got Reagan elected, not their parents. A helluva lot of guys marched against the Vietnam War in the late 60s/early 70s just to get laid, you know. My speculation is that a few years later they voted for Reagan.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Mon 7 Jan 08 08:06
You may be right, Steve. Which goes to show that "boomers" are simply those born between a set of years. For clarification, maybe 1980 is when the silent majority (young and old) became unsilent. There may have always been a majority of "boomers" who were politically conservative. George Wallace used to cater to the patriotic youth who weren't out burning flags and raising hell. [Even the hardcore back-to-the-land hippies were radically traditional.] <<A helluva lot of guys marched against the Vietnam War in the late 60s/early 70s just to get laid> We should drag those infidels to Wall Street and burn them at the stake. (Wait. A bunch of them are already there).
Tom Jennings (t-o-m-i-c) Mon 7 Jan 08 10:23
bruces> In fact pretty much ALL AND EVERY aspect of popular culture has suffered under the Bush Administration, but music, especially so. Umm, I totally disagree; THAT particular industry has THRIVED under the little shrub; their problems of today they caused themselves long ago! bruces> Why should the Police, biggest band of the early 80s, and the Beatles, biggest band of the 60s (with two dead guys in it), kick the ass of musicians in the 00s? They don't! The music dinosaurs pack the stores with that old dead rubbish and even with a hermetic market they are FAILING. There are many large and thriving (culturally, not industrially) music scenes. Hiphop has been topping sales for decades, utterly ignored by a literally racist industry. Electronic dance music is highly successful and wildly mutated and the artists involved don't even fit in the model at all. Here's one of those revealing factual details: the data in MP3 ID3 tags assumes the business model of band -> album -> song whereas most DJ-produced releases are closer to label -> DJ -> [ artist -> track; artist -> track; ...] where 'artist' can be another DJ, and 'label' can be one of the big guys' "independent units" or an 'artist', and the overall container ("disc") is itself made as a complete performance. Performance has been treated for years as a way to promote record sales; this is reversing in many areas. Was it David Byrne who recently said "calling a record 'music' is like calling a shopping cart 'groceries'. Performance is again the unique and valuable thing.
NEAL SOLDOFSKY -- not (davadam) Mon 7 Jan 08 11:37
Neal Soldofsky comments from off-WELL: regarding #86 I agree with you that is foolish to suggest that the internet is bulletproof. When I said that the internet was too difficult to control, I meant that if anyone made moves to limit what was great about it, specifically the way it empowers people to distribute their own media, people would freak out in a major way. I swear, there would be riots. It'd be like trying to ban rock music. The kids would shit. I'm sure that most ISP's have the ambition to ruin the internet, and that plenty of politicians would consider letting them, but the kind of public outcry you'd get would be too much. It's one thing to screw with people's environment and country, it's another thing the screw with their entertainment. And as the internet's importance in the realm of popular entertainment grows, it's only going to get harder. But as it stands, I think it's safe to assume that the internet will continue to fragment culture. That's the thing I'm most excited about for the future. Not that I think this is going to necessarily improve the quality of news for the average person. I do worry about the news. I think more substantive news from more perspectives will be made available, but I have no special reason to assume that most people will seek it out. I have no ideas, really. How about the rest of yous? What do you think is happening with the news? This is from Neal, by the way, not davadam. I'm emailing my comments in.
Lloyd Duhon (radioastro) Mon 7 Jan 08 15:19
To <BruceS> #88 "I never imagined I'd be the kinda guy who says "kids these days have music that sucks." In fact pretty much ALL AND EVERY aspect of popular culture has suffered under the Bush Administration, but music, especially so." Can you honestly give a president, ANY president this much credit? Love them or hate them, just how much culture shift is the president himself responsible for? To <JonL> #89 "Sale of recorded music is no longer a great way to make money - the bands that are doing well make money by touring, and they have hundreds of online channels to promote their music and their performances." *Do you consider this a negative? The fan is now closer to the artist. The artist makes art, the fan pays homage. The bureaucracy involved in the whole middleman process is constantly diminished.
NEAL SOLDOFSKY -- not (davadam) Mon 7 Jan 08 16:16
Neal Soldofsky comments from off-WELL: Regarding #88 Music does not suck these days. Just the best selling music, and even all of it. Anything produced my Timbaland is a marvel, in my opinion. And that includes Justin Timerlake's 'I'm Bringing Sexy Back'. A very stupid song, but well done. But that's not what I really mean to talk about. There's great music all over the place if you look for it. I bought a ton of great albums last year. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam Noah Georgeson - Find Shelter Arctic Monkeys - Favorite Worst Nightmare That's just a few. There are tons of great bands and a ton of great records. There just isn't an over overwhelmingly large audience for any one band. That doesn't worry me. The oughts don't need a Beatles or an Elvis. I'm not worried for the future of music, because all the members of my favorite bands are still alive. burces > The Bush regime is a grim, dispirited period. Everybody knows there's something wrong with it. wasn't there something wrong with the eighties? I'm a young man, and I don't get much a sense from my peers that they are dispirited. Sure, their parents are dispirited, but not the kids. And the kids are making a lot joyful music right now (evidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_vl5vcG9VI )
Tom Jennings (t-o-m-i-c) Mon 7 Jan 08 17:58
(My apologies to jonl for overlooking his post re: music.) So music got itself vastly vertically integrated with a handful of distribution channels carrying 90% or whatever of the bulk; radio/tv/print has more nearly done the same. Food is largely done the same. (Talking US here, sorry.) Some things (oddly, vitamin food additives) are already global cartels. So this meta-business with the near ability to aggregate at this level -- this seems novel (and not in a good way). It's kinda sorta like monopoly, but not really since the "individual" players are not all one legal entity. Bruce an Gibson wrote about this stuff. Will THAT meta-mechanism continue? The EU has stopped a lot of that American toxic financial mechanism from importing, but is there anything "natural" (sic) to stop it? Does it need stopping or limits? How to we not end up in the world of Rollerball?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 7 Jan 08 20:13
>>> "Sale of recorded music is no longer a great way to make money - the bands that are doing well make money by touring [etc]" *Do you consider this a negative? <<< Not at all - not sure how I gave that impression.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 08 04:07
"Careful not to impose today's globalism on the "globe" of 1968. Yes, in strict demographic, population dynamics you can talk about the hippies, Chinese cultural revolutionist, BaaderMeinof, all in the same "boomer" breath, but in doing so you conflate your socio-historical perspective. At a recent academic conference, someone mentioned that there were two 1968's, the 1968 of San Francisco and the 1968 of Paris. The Haight-back-to-the-land hippie epitomized the former, while the neo-Marxist radical student revolutionaries epitomized the latter. The German BaaderMeinof was an extreme example of Paris '68, not SF. Likewise, the New Leftist politicos in the US (Hoffman/Bernadine Dohrn) bore more resemblance to the radicalized Paris of '68, than to the Dionysian elements of the Haight (which they tried to co-opt). "At that conference, after this comment was made about SF/Paris, someone asked, "what about the 1968 of Prague?" (((Yeah, what a good question. I wanted to figure that one out myself.))) <p> Tianaman (sp) Square (although later), as a reaction to a similar Marxist totalitarianism, and more akin to the Prague Spring, than to the youthful disaffections of Paris or SF. <p>Likewise, if we're not going to conflate our history, shouldn't we also point to Saigon 1968 as epitomizing the hugely significant anti-colonial, Nationalist movement of the third world? (((etc etc))) *Y'know, that was just great. I enjoyed that. I admit cheerily that I was conflating, while s-mcfarlane there was disambiguating... Kinda the systole and diastole of historical analysis, really. *I could read stuff like that all day, and often do. *About the best I can offer here is to say that the farther one gets historically, the more the facts on the ground tend to compost. If you zoom in all close to the Great '68 Rebellion, you'd get guys howling stuff like "hey, Prague, Paris, San Francisco, what about Port Huron?" Historians always end up conflating, as you can't establish meaning without pruning the thicket of facts. There's an alarming paucity of facts about the Dark Ages. I always wonder what was really going on there. Presumably they were pig-ignorant and puttering along on subsistence agriculture for about 400 years, but who knows, maybe they were radically enlighted sustainable green communes and nobody was bothering to write that down.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 08 04:25
"I never imagined I'd be the kinda guy who says "kids these days have music that sucks." In fact pretty much ALL AND EVERY aspect of popular culture has suffered under the Bush Administration, but music, especially so." "Can you honestly give a president, ANY president this much credit? Love them or hate them, just how much culture shift is the president himself responsible for?" *Y'know, before Bush, I would have been all socially-determinate about that and said "not much," but after having that guy as my governor for two terms and President for two terms, yeah, he's frankly disastrous. He was a true calamity for American civil society. I hope our democracy never elects a dimwitted aristocrat again. *That doesn't explain why Britain has failed to launch earth-shattering pop music to make up for the lack in America. I could make a case that they did better than the US did. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times (Tennessee) Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (weird Texan-Venezuelan-Angeleno) Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings (some guy from Baltimore I've frankly never heard of, maybe he's bigger than Elvis) Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam (also from Baltimore, bidding fair to be the San Francisco of the 00s, presumably) Noah Georgeson - Find Shelter (Devendra's producer) Arctic Monkeys - Favorite Worst Nightmare (Brits) *I've got nothing against these guys, but I'd call them cult figures. They seem content to lurk underground without producing the kind of artistic work that demands public attention. *It might be that in cheerier times public attention goes and finds musicians.
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